Feature Content, Secondary Care

School’s out forever – digital training is here to stay

Feature by ANCILE Solutions

The first Covid-19 lockdown demonstrated how classroom-based lessons can be rendered obsolete in a matter of days. The transition to remote working necessitated changes to the way that training is delivered with an even stronger move to online learning. For large electronic patient record (EPR) implementations, ensuring staff understand how to use the new system, and are supported throughout the EPR lifecycle, is vital. Bobby Zarr, senior director of healthcare strategy at ANCILE Solutions tells us how its digital platform, uPerform, supports staff in their EPR training and adoption and enables healthcare organisations to make the most of their IT investment.

What are the challenges of implementing a new electronic patient record?

EPR implementation is a complex investment with many logistical challenges. It requires buy-in from stakeholders across the entire organisation, and one that must be fully adhered to – there can be no half-jobs with the process. EPR consultant David Kwo, who has worked at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, put it well in saying:

“The implementation of an EPR is, in essence, a transformational change programme – it’s more than simply about improving clinical software. It requires an organisational-wide commitment to change management and cultural change at all levels, and must be driven by clinical and operational commitment and leadership.”

In many cases, the logistics around EPR training can be very complicated, with thousands of clinicians and administrative staff to train, and everyone having completely full schedules. Creating flexible learning options has often been overlooked in the need to adopt new IT systems, and sometimes regarded as another barrier to overcome within a fast-paced work environment.

How can we overcome these challenges?

On-demand, bite-sized training is the single greatest change that any healthcare provider implementing a new EPR can make to increase user adoption and proficiency. Traditional training methods are inflexible and often have content that is irrelevant to many clinicians but is included in programmes for the sake of being thorough.

With online learning, trainers can upload content and earmark it for specific users. This saves dramatically on the user’s time and effort, and improves the efficiency of using the EPR as staff will be informed rapidly about exactly what functions they require. Again, David Kwo has explained how important training is to EPR implementation:

“Implementing an EPR requires training that is suited to the needs of each staff member and is flexible to suit individual work practices and lifestyles. Each one of us has a different mix of work and personal constraints, so time-specific classroom training needs to be minimised whether on-site or virtual.”

How has Covid-19 changed the situation?

For healthcare providers entering the final phase of their EPR deployment when the pandemic hit, the sudden need for social distancing measures required a complete re-think of their training strategies. M Health Fairview, in the US, was one such organisation that mobilised to solve this problem, and while it had already begun a plan of hybrid training, the pandemic required a sudden pivot to all-online training. As Derek Harley has said:

“Before the pandemic, we were already on track to shift to a hybrid model of synchronous and asynchronous training over 18 months, but then when we went into lockdown, we had to shift to that in just seven days! We did it through e-learning and a quick rapid development of virtual instructor-led training, and implementing uPerform was a big part of our success.”

Digital training should be something that every healthcare provider invests in. It allows training to continue without interruption, despite something as disruptive as a pandemic, and also allows clinicians the flexibility to set their own training schedule, without having to rely on logistical aspects such as classroom availability.

What other benefits are there to online training?

One of the great benefits of real-time, in-application digital training is the availability of the information. Users can revisit any information they want to brush up on at any time, as it is all stored in a central library and is accessible on-demand. Digital platforms allow IT trainers to personalise learning modules to the users’ role, speciality, and requirements. Content creation software allows instructors to make easy how-to guides, tip-sheets and short video clips, and tag them as being relevant to specific job roles within a hospital. In-app simulation capabilities allow users to complete tasks and run scenarios in a test environment to simulate using the EPR.

In traditional learning situations, users might have to sift through large documents of irrelevant information before finding what they need. But now, with a training platform’s online searchability, the information they want is easily found whenever they need it.

With the convenience, cost-effectiveness and successes of digital training for healthcare organisations, it seems unlikely that many would want to go back to the old-school ways of learning.  As Derek Harley says: “The last year has shown that online training is not only useful, it’s the ideal solution to all the logistical issues and cost implications of classroom training.”

Learn more

To discover how uPerform helps health systems transform their EPR training and support, visit https://www.ancile.com/.

Johnathan Pascall, EMEA Sales Director

uPerform by ANCILE Solutions

johnathan.pascall@ancile.com | +44 7393 531 168